We begin with inspiration for the blog, as inspiration is the root of so many elements that comprise the blog.
Having worked with and for small local businesses for over 20 years, I quickly recognized that they don’t have capacity to do all of the small details. Builders build, bakers bake, retailers sell and so on. They do what they know.
When businesses start, they often start small and do the marketing, among other things, themselves. In today’s world, there are so many facets to marketing, which includes social media. And with the multitude of the ever-changing social media platforms, how can businesses expect to keep up? In addition, many small businesses try their hands at blogging as a means to reach their targeted audience. While their intentions are good, the posts are often few and far between. This makes it difficult to attract and maintain this audience.
The idea of a co-op style blog came to mind that could benefit small, local businesses and have the following features:
- A blog manager that organizes and maintains the blog content and calendar.
- Builds a shared audience with other local businesses while collectively providing consistent and relevant content.
- Opportunity for local creatives to collaborate with a go-to media platform.
- Provide a source of style inspiration and resources for the Bellingham community.
Once the concept was created, the next step was to bring it to life. The inspiration for this debut post is the result of a conversation that I had with my friend Amy, of Amy Slusher Photos. We were talking about all of the creative collaborations that take place all around us. This first blog post is all about what happens when you bring together some creative, entrepreneurial souls, giving them a bit of guidance and letting them loose with their creative juices!
When you have an event in mind, there are several key elements involved in the planning process, which include the venue, food/drinks, décor, and supplies. The venue is one of the first major decisions that need to be made. The choice is often based on the size of the guest list. A smaller event is often done at home, while a larger event calls for renting out a space that is able to accommodate number of guests.
For our event, we wanted to stage a small party. Ideally, the space would be fresh and modern, without a lot of clutter that would get in the way. Basically, we needed a relatively blank canvas to capture the event. As luck would have it, Slusher Homes and Remodeling (Amy and her husband’s other business) had a recently designed and constructed home and the great room was the perfect setting
Apart from a dining room set, the space was empty. While we didn’t need a lot for our purposes, we did want the room to look pulled together.
A great resource, to find the perfect statement piece for any event, is my new favorite store, Ormolulu. They are located in downtown Bellingham, on Holly Street right across from Rocket Donuts. Ormolulu is a combination of an Antique Store and Restoration Hardware. Debi and Jim have meticulously and artfully curated an amazing store with a wide assortment of treasures that can complete any collections. For our debut blog event, were used several items from Ormolulu, including a vintage cowboy bath for the ice bucket that was full of balloons on the industrial, stacking steel racks, converted on casters to create a versatile bar cart. One-of-a-kind!!!
Since the walls were bare, artwork was needed to provide a more polished look. I reached out to friend and local artist, Sharon Kingston. Since Sharon’s art was being displayed in galleries around the country, she only had a few pieces available. In a serendipitous fashion, two of the paintings couldn’t have been more perfect.
- The clearing and concealing, 48×60”, oil on canvas. The scale and color of the painting provided a nice visual balance with the bar cart.
- Springtimes have needed you, 23×23”, oil on paper, framed. This painting was placed on the fireplace mantle, along with a few colorful accessories.
The planning process that I used for this event is the same process I use when planning my own parties or when leading the decoration committee for various charity events. Even when my kids were little, instead of asking them what character theme they wanted for their birthday parties, I asked about what colors they wanted. Full disclosure, my son did have a Thomas the Train birthday party when he was little.
In determining the theme or color scheme to provide continuity for our event I met BreAnne and Eric Green, the new owners of the Greenhouse, to see what they wanted to showcase. Le Creuset was in the process of launching their Provence collection. Bre was excited about this collection and wanted to use the lavender color as the inspiration for the color scheme for our event.
Once the colors were decided, I gathered my supplies and started planning. The following is a summary of the major food and supplies:
- Seasonal flowers: Natalie, from Pozie by Natalie, created a lovely arrangement for the dessert table. She also brought with her a car full of locally foraged flowers that she artfully placed throughout the space….including the balloon garland and cowboy bath!
- Cupcakes, treats, etc.: Individual servings work best at a gathering where you are not having a sit down dinner. I connected with three local bakers, all three given the color scheme and asked to create to their hearts desire.
- Cupcakes from Antler Baking Company. Veronica specializes in creative flavor combinations.
- Cupcakes from Sot Bake Shop. Jenn enjoys creating rich textures and is quite fond of breakfast dessert.
- Macarons from Gathered Confections. Sarah is an amazing artist and it shows in her beautiful creations.
- Serving pieces, accessories, decorations, etc.: For this I utilized various pieces from Ormolulu, The Greenhouse, and from my own personal collection. I will go into more detail in a subsequent blog post.
Now let’s not forget the clothes! As you will see in future posts, several of our creative entrepreneurs are also in the photos. With the big picture in mind, we wanted the clothes to suit the person and compliment the colors used for the event. The ladies picked out clothes from Quinn and Foster, a local boutique.
We were all excited to see our collective pieces of the puzzle come together. When the event was finally upon us, we saw what our collaborative initiative created. While each layer was beautiful and artful in and of itself, the final product was worthy of a celebration! And while we were celebrating, the space was eloquently captured by Amy Slusher Photography.
Thank you for joining us on our journey! We look forward to sharing more details from this event in future posts, along with information about the people behind the collaboration.
Sot Bake Shop, Jennifer Johnson:
Pozie by Natalie, Natalie Ransom:
Ormolulu, Debi Burton and Jim Blondeau:
Quinn and Foster, Chris Hayward, Owner & Kelly Sygitowicz, Marketing and Sales:
Antler Baking Company, Veronica Stendahl:
Sharon Kingston Paintings:
Gathered Confections, Sarah Woods:
Amy Slusher Photos:
Slusher Homes Design Images, Trent and Amy Slusher:
The Greenhouse, BreAnne and Eric Green: